Growing through Sabotage: Energizing Hierarchical Power

Growing through Sabotage: Energizing Hierarchical Power
Bichler, Shimshon and Nitzan, Jonathan. (2017). Working Papers on Capital as Power. No. 2017/02. July. pp. 1-59. (Article - Working Paper; English).


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Abstract or Brief Description

According to the theory of capital as power, capitalism, like any other mode of power, is born through sabotage and lives in chains – and yet everywhere we look we see it grow and expand. What explains this apparent puzzle of 'growth in the midst of sabotage'? The answer, we argue, begins with the very meaning of ‘growth’. Whereas conventional political economy equates the growth with a rising standard of living, we posit that much of this growth has nothing to do with livelihood as such: it represents not the improvement of wellbeing, but the expansion of sabotage itself. Building on this premise, the article historicizes, theorizes and models the relationship between changes in hierarchical power and sabotage on the one hand and the growth of energy capture on the other. It claims that hierarchical power is sought for its own sake; that building and sustaining this power demands strategic sabotage; and that sabotage absorbs a significant proportion of the energy captured by society. From this standpoint, capitalism grows, at least in part, not despite or because of sabotage, but through sabotage.



Publication Type

Article - Working Paper


casp energy growth hierarchy power sabotage


BN Methodology
BN Power
BN Production
BN Resistance
BN State & Government
BN War & Peace
BN Business Enterprise
BN Capital & Accumulation
BN Civilization & Social Systems
BN Class
BN Conflict & Violence
BN Cooperation & Collective Action
BN Crisis
BN Distribution
BN Ecology & Environment
BN Growth
BN History
BN Institutions

Depositing User

Jonathan Nitzan

Date Deposited

14 Jul 2017 02:43

Last Modified

13 Nov 2017 23:29


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